DOCUMENTA KASSEL 16/06-23/09 2007

documenta 12 Advisory Board

The documenta 12 advisory board met regularly in Kassel from the beginning of 2006. It consisted of about forty local ‘experts’, who contributed their own experience and viewpoints in the areas of formal or informal education, town planning, academic and research work, social work, political organisations, religious and cultural communities, as well as from their work with children and young people. In collaboration with the documenta 12 team, they considered the significance of the leimotifs in the city of Kassel, linking them to mind-sets, contexts and topics of local relevance.

Advisory board discussions on the significance of the leitmotifs for Kassel yielded a number of themes representing locally specific incarnations of these issues. Thus, for example, the question of modernity inevitably took us back to Kassel's history as an industrial city that brought forth not only wealth and social mobility but also armaments and destruction. The post-war reconstruction of the city  was conducted in the spirit of modern rationalism. The question of bare existence also touches on this historic trauma, yet it is equally topical today when describing the high level of unemployment, for instance, or the precarious situation of migrants. The educational landscape in Kassel is in a state of upheaval, which is most clearly evident in the restructuring of the university from a comprehensive university with an integrative concept to an institution dedicated to creating elites. Nevertheless, many groups, initiatives and networks have also long recognised the collective practice they live as an organisational form of education and self-care.

The work of the documenta 12 advisory board continued in the city. In order to define the key questions more clearly and make them available as inspiration for debate within society, the board members developed practically oriented activities and discussions and put them into practice in their own diverse contexts. Thus, for example, some town planners and geographers devoted themselves to the condition of public space, to a network of initiatives for children and young people, and planned a summer of action on the key questions. Unemployed people took these issues as an opportunity to work together to re-evaluate the crisis of a labour society. On top of that, a special series of events were dedicated to exploring the connections between education, migration and exclusion.

A further, not unimportant, role for the advisory board members was to serve as contact and support persons for artists developing their work in or with reference to Kassel, making contact, creating access and bringing their local knowledge to bear on the documenta 12 process.

Even in the months before the exhibition opened, the advisory board's activities were already having repercussions in Kassel. They provided an impulse for debate on the social and political significance of the key questions, and encouraged the documenta 12 public to relate these questions, and ultimately the art as well, to themselves, to their environment and to their own lives.

The documenta 12 advisory board was founded in collaboration with the Kassel cultural centre Schlachthof e.V., which continued to develop and support the board in cooperation.

Contact partners

Ayşe Güleç (spokesperson of the documenta 12 advisory board)

Wanda Wieczorek (assistant, artistic direction)



The activities of the advisory board are funded by:


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